A-14703, JUNE 19, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 999

A-14703: Jun 19, 1926

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COMPENSATION - ALLOWANCES IN KIND FURNISHED FIELD EMPLOYEES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AS AN EMPLOYEE GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY COMPENSATION WHILE HE IS IN SUCH STATUS. WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE ENTIRELY VACATED BY THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD AND THEY ARE AVAILABLE FOR OTHER ASSIGNMENT. IF SUCH QUARTERS ARE RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE DURING HIS ABSENCE. DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE AS IF THE QUARTERS WERE ACTUALLY OCCUPIED BY HIM. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8. YOUR DECISION OF THIS QUESTION IS REQUESTED. THE DEPARTMENT WOULD FIND HELPFUL AN INDICATION WHETHER THE RULE IS TO APPLY TO ABSENCE IRRESPECTIVE OF DURATION AND IS TO AFFECT EQUALLY CASES WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE COMPLETELY VACATED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN SUCH WISE AS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR OTHER OCCUPANCY AND CASES WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED BY OR RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE LEAVE PERIOD.

A-14703, JUNE 19, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 999

COMPENSATION - ALLOWANCES IN KIND FURNISHED FIELD EMPLOYEES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AS AN EMPLOYEE GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY COMPENSATION WHILE HE IS IN SUCH STATUS, THE REASONABLE VALUE AS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED OF ANY QUARTERS AND EQUIPMENT THAT MAY BE FURNISHED A FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEE DURING SUCH PERIOD SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM ANY AMOUNT OTHERWISE DUE HIM OR WHICH MAY BECOME DUE. WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE ENTIRELY VACATED BY THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD AND THEY ARE AVAILABLE FOR OTHER ASSIGNMENT, NO DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE FOR THEIR ALUE; BUT IF SUCH QUARTERS ARE RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE DURING HIS ABSENCE, DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE AS IF THE QUARTERS WERE ACTUALLY OCCUPIED BY HIM.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JUNE 19, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADJUSTMENT ON THE BASIS OF YOUR DECISION OF JULY 16, 1925 (5 COMP. GEN. 37) OF THE SALARIES OF FIELD EMPLOYEES FURNISHED QUARTERS AND EQUIPMENT, QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER IN CASE OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY THE ESTABLISHED VALUE OF THE QUARTERS OR EQUIPMENT FOR THE LEAVE PERIOD SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM ANY SUMS DUE OR WHICH MAY BECOME DUE THE EMPLOYEE.

YOUR DECISION OF THIS QUESTION IS REQUESTED. IN THE EVENT OF A HOLDING THAT DEDUCTIONS SHOULD BE MADE, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD FIND HELPFUL AN INDICATION WHETHER THE RULE IS TO APPLY TO ABSENCE IRRESPECTIVE OF DURATION AND IS TO AFFECT EQUALLY CASES WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE COMPLETELY VACATED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN SUCH WISE AS TO BE AVAILABLE FOR OTHER OCCUPANCY AND CASES WHERE THE QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED BY OR RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE LEAVE PERIOD.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 161, PROVIDES:

THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT, WHERE, IN HIS JUDGMENT, CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT REQUIRE IT, MAY CONTINUE TO FURNISH CIVILIANS EMPLOYED IN THE FIELD SERVICE WITH QUARTERS, HEAT, LIGHT, HOUSEHOLD EQUIPMENT, SUBSISTENCE, AND LAUNDRY SERVICE; AND APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 OF THE CHARACTER HERETOFORE USED FOR SUCH PURPOSES ARE HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE THEREFOR: PROVIDED, THAT THE REASONABLE VALUE OF SUCH ALLOWANCES SHALL BE DETERMINED AND CONSIDERED AS PART OF THE COMPENSATION IN FIXING THE SALARY RATE OF SUCH CIVILIANS.

THE SECTION QUOTED MAKES THE ALLOWANCES NAMED A PART OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE TO WHOM THEY ARE FURNISHED. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION DECISION OF JUNE 3, 1926, A-12324, 5 COMP. GEN. 957.

WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS ON FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, HIS RIGHT TO COMPENSATION IS SUSPENDED FOR THE PERIOD OF FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. SINCE THE ALLOWANCES FURNISHED THE EMPLOYEE ARE A PART OF HIS COMPENSATION, THE RIGHT TO THE ALLOWANCES IS LIKEWISE SUSPENDED DURING THE PERIOD OF FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.

THE STATUS OF AN EMPLOYEE ON FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IS SUCH THAT NO RIGHT TO COMPENSATION IN ANY FORM ACCRUES TO THE EMPLOYEE. ALLOWANCES BEING A PART OF COMPENSATION, THE RECEIPT THEREOF BY AN EMPLOYEE IN A NONPAY STATUS IS UNAUTHORIZED UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT IS REIMBURSED THE REASONABLE VALUE OF SUCH ALLOWANCES.

SECTION 3648, REVISED STATUTES, FORBIDS ADVANCE OF PUBLIC MONEY IN ANY CASE WHATEVER. SINCE SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, SUPRA, MAKES ALLOWANCES A PART OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE TO WHOM THEY ARE FURNISHED, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO FURNISH SUCH ALLOWANCES IN ADVANCE OF THE RENDERING OF THE SERVICE FOR WHICH THEY ARE ORDINARILY A PART OF THE COMPENSATION. IF, HOWEVER, FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REASONS IT IS DEEMED ADVISABLE TO ALLOW THE EMPLOYEE TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE ALLOWANCES DURING THE PERIOD OF LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, THEN THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE REIMBURSED THE "REASONABLE VALUE" OF SUCH ALLOWANCES AS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED IN FIXING THE SALARY RATE OF THE POSITION FILLED BY THE EMPLOYEE.

IF QUARTERS ARE COMPLETELY VACATED BY AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY SO THAT THEY ARE AVAILABLE FOR OTHER OCCUPANCY, THEY WOULD NOT BE FURNISHED TO THE EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, AND NO RIGHT WOULD ACCRUE TO THE GOVERNMENT TO BE REIMBURSED THEREFOR AND NO DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE FROM ANY SUM OTHERWISE DUE THE EMPLOYEE. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE QUARTERS ARE RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, AND THEREFORE NOT AVAILABLE FOR OTHER OCCUPANCY, DEDUCTION SHOULD BE MADE AS IF OCCUPIED BY THE EMPLOYEE.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS SPECIFICALLY: IN CASE AN EMPLOYEE IS ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, THE ESTABLISHED VALUE OF THE QUARTERS OR EQUIPMENT FURNISHED DURING THE LEAVE PERIOD SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM ANY SUMS DUE OR WHICH MAY BECOME DUE THE EMPLOYEE. THE RULE IS TO APPLY IRRESPECTIVE OF THE DURATION OF THE LEAVE PERIOD, BUT DOES NOT APPLY TO THE CASES IN WHICH THE QUARTERS ARE COMPLETELY VACATED BY THE EMPLOYEE SO AS TO RENDER THEM AVAILABLE FOR OTHER OCCUPANCY. THE RULE DOES APPLY TO CASES WHERE QUARTERS ARE RESERVED FOR THE EMPLOYEE.